Strategies to make garbage greener

It is no surprise that the strong winds that hit the Northwest last week have caused minor inconveniences to many in our area.

Yet compared to what hit the coast, we are considerably more fortunate as weather reports have come in saying it was like nothing anyone has seen before. It wasn’t necessarily the 195 km/h winds that were reported in places such as Shearwater, but the force in which the storm hit.

In the interior we were much luckier and it did not destroy structures in its path.

Yet what the wind did do was create another mess at our local dump. Last year the garbage strewn in the forest along the dump road in the spring was shocking and by the looks of things this weekend, this year will be no different. During my conversation with the dump manager last year, they assured me it would be cleaned up and in fact, several youth were seen doing just that in the weeks that followed the story. However, as I drove down the refuse-decorated road I couldn’t help but wonder if there wasn’t ways to prevent this now seemingly annual event in the first place.

There are two parts to the possible solution. One would be perhaps putting up a higher fence system to act like a trap to snag anything that would blow up from the winter dumping area.

There are also lots of things we as consumers and refuse site users could do as well. One of the biggest problems is the white plastic shopping bags. They turn into little flying kites when the wind gets a hold of them and while they are usually thrown in the dump with garbage in them, both animals and machines soon decimate the contents and little pieces or entire bags start floating around. Last year there was a suggestion made to tie the bags in knots so they don’t fly but I notice most people use them to put things in. Then there is the chip bags and pieces of garbage bags and other light plastics that seem to take to the breeze quite nicely.

The only suggestion I can come up with is to pack these little troublesome plastics inside things like boxes or cans. This week I made a point of putting light Seran wrap and chip bags into an empty cereal box. In fact, I kept the box beside the garbage can and packed it as full as I could all week. Surprisingly not only did it contain these frustrating pieces of debris it also seemed to cut down on how fast the garbage filled up.

Whenever faced with the current garbage situation in the north I must admit, I do find it frustrating how little we recycle up here. It’s not like people don’t want to do it, there just isn’t the resources to make it feasible.  When the small backyard recycling started up in Gitanmaax two years ago, they couldn’t believe how many people were thrilled to bring cans, bottles, newspaper and plastics. Yet, in the end, the market crashed and it cost more to recycle then throw things in the quickly filling landfill. I do hope in the coming months as the regional district takes a hard look at the garbage situation in the Hazeltons. However, in the meantime, I would love to hear how other people make a difference to make our planet a little greener.

Smithers Interior News